‘Bitcoin Valley’ in Honduras set to boost tourism

01 Aug 2022

A tourist area of Honduras is now accepting Bitcoin payments within the so-called ‘Bitcoin Valley’ initiative aimed at bolstering tourism revenue.

Residents of the town of Santa Lucia predict the scheme will increase opportunities for local businesses and “attract more people who want to use this currency,” according to shopping centre owner, Cesar Andino.

He went on to say: “Accepting Bitcoin will allow us to open another market and win more customers. We have to globalise. We cannot close ourselves off from technology, and we cannot be left behind when other countries are already doing it, reports La Prensa.

The crypto program got underway last Thursday, permitting local shops to accept payment in U.S. Dollars, Honduran Lempira or Bitcoin – the world’s largest cryptocurrency.

The Bitcoin Valley idea was developed by Santa Lucia’s municipal government, Coincaex crypto exchange, Blockchain Honduras and the Technological University of Honduras, Cointelegraph reports.

The exchange is facilitating the services and equipment required to carry out crypto payments, whilst Blockchain Honduras is educating on the use of crypto wallets.

The report by La Prensa adds that although consumers are able to make payments in Bitcoin, these will be sent to the Coincaex exchange. They will then send the value of the Bitcoin in Lempira to the retailer to circumvent losses due to price volatility.

As such, business owners do not directly receive Bitcoin as payment.

It is hoped that the Bitcoin Valley initiative will boost tourism spending in Honduras following the impact of the pandemic. In 2019, the country’s annual tourism spending hit around $556 million, before plunging by more than 66% in 2020 to $189 million, as per Macrotrends data.

Honduras follows on from other countries in the region that have implemented similar crypto initiatives. El Salvador made Bitcoin legal tender last year, and launched the ‘Bitcoin Beach’ tourist attraction in El Zonte, whereas Guatemala introduced the ‘Bitcoin Lake’ initiative.